» Panther Cage Match 2019

Calling all Chapman Students/Alumni Entrepreneurs!

Reimagined Business Pitch Competition

A unique chance to be part of an exclusive experience to take your New Product or Service idea or New Business to the next level of commercialization. Unlock opportunities and connect with an expansive network of other entrepreneurs, faculty industry partners, investors and business partners.

This reimagined Business Competition is designed to give our Chapman student and alumni entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business concepts to successfully commercialize their product or related service. The competition is focused on early-stage projects and startups which are engaged in entrepreneurial activities. Judges will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms.

Nominations for the 2019 Ralph W. Leatherby Center Entrepreneurship & Business Ethics – Panther Cage Match close on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at midnight.  A simple half page abstract of your new business or business concept submission is the only requirement to begin the process.

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+ - Key Dates

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at midnight:

Initial application due

Friday, September, 27th at midnight:

Individual / Team Pitch deck presentation (s) due

Sunday, September 29th:

Notification to Semifinalist Teams

Thursday, October 3rd:

Notification to Finalist Teams for competition

Friday, October 4th:

Final round individual & team rehearsal

Saturday, October 5th:

Panther Cage Match

+ - How to Apply

Application Form

Following your submission of the initial application, begin work on the Pitch Deck Presentation, due September 27th. Details for the Pitch Deck are located below under "Requirements for Submission."

+ - Judges

Preliminary Round Judges:

Dr.  Tanveer Hussain
CEO of VR YourHealth

Kim Letch
Managing Partner at Ernst Young

Jim Burra
Chapman University Trustee and Founder of Endural

Tom Turk
Dean of Argyros School of Business & Economics

Bill Carpou

Allan Tea
Managing Partner of Hello Kitty Cafe and Capital Seafood.


Final Round Judges:

Greg Spierkel
Board Member MGM, McLaren Group, Schneider Electric

Joe Formichelli
Director of Celsia Technologies Taiwan and Board Member of Telchemy Inc

Alan & Twila True
Founders of the True Family Enterprises and Venture Capital


+ - Requirements for Submission

Individual/Team Pitch Deck Presentation(s) are due September 27th. Following completion of the initial application teams will be required to submit a powerpoint presentation with the following information via email to Karen Akiyama:

Slide 1:
  • Individual and or Team Member(s)/Date of Presentation
Slide 2:
  • Introduction: This slide can be used to introduce your team, you and the business or concept as it currently exists.
Slide 3:
  • Problem Statement: Describe the type of problem(s) or issue(s) that are the focus of your business concept and why the problem is worth solving.
Slide 4:
  • Competitive Landscape: Describe the type of solutions available that are direct or indirect competitive alternatives.
Slide 5:
  • The New Solution and Market Validation: What evidence have you accumulated that support why your solution will be successful?
Slide 6:
  • Financial Return: What investment or financial sourcing have you explored and found? What value can you unlock?
Slide 7:
  • Action needed: What do you need to commercialize your business venture? Include short, medium and long-term steps to be carried out.
Slide 8:
  • Q&A: Include team members, cell phone # and email information.

+ - Awards

1st prize   $2000.00 cash, Legal, Accounting and Business Services

2nd prize  $1000.00 cash, Legal, Accounting and Business Services

3rd & 4th   $500.00 cash, Legal, Accounting and Business Services

+ - FAQ

Q: How much time and what date(s) should they anticipate needing to dedicate to this competition for rehearsals, pre-final competition rounds, etc.

A: The abstract of your business idea should be concise and take very little time to prepare.  The formal presentation will take the time you feel necessary to complete the pitch deck to a quality for venture capital discussion.  A limit of 6 slides has been provided to assist you in presentation development. See submission requirements.

Q: What exactly they’ll be expected to do or present (is it a PPT, is it a demonstration, proof of concept, do they need to bring the goods and demo them just like on shark tank, etc) – if not in detail until after they apply, at least in general to set expectations

A: The presentation can include short videos, product prototypes.

Q: How far along/baked out does their idea need to be? How many years are they allowed to be in business already/if at all?

A: No limit to the stage of business development.  A nascent idea emerging is as valid as an early stage commercialized business for consideration.

Q: Do they have to be CU students/alumni?

A: Yes, at a minimum, one member of the team needs to be a current student or alumni of Chapman University.

Q: How many team members are required?

A: There is no maximum number of team members allowed for individual business ideas.

Q: When will teams be notified of their selection to the Final 8 and Final 4 teams?

A: The Final 8 will be notified by end of day on Sunday, September 29th. The Final 4 teams will be notified by Thursday, October 3rd.

+ - Corporate Partners

Thank you to our corporate partners that have agreed to donate consulting time to our finalists.

RSM US WealthManagement

WINDES Audit | Tax | Advisory


Come and support your classmates and alumni!

Complimentary dinner and drinks will be served.

RSVP to Panther Cage Match on Day 2 of Homecoming Weekend

Have questions?

For questions or more information, please contact Ms. Karen Akiyama, at kmu@chapman.edu.


Saturday, October 5th

3 - 5 p.m. - Opening and Competition

5:30 p.m. - Tailgate Barbecue

6:30 p.m. - Awards Ceremony


Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics

549 West Palm

Orange, 92868